Resident Bishop Iowa and Dakotas Annual Conferences

The United Methodist Church

Bishop Laurie Haller was elected on ballot 13 at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Thursday, July 14, 2016.

Bishop Laurie Haller served in the Michigan area from 1982 to 2016. She was serving as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham in the Detroit Annual Conference when she was elected to the Episcopacy on July 14.

Prior to her appointment to First UMC, she served six years as district superintendent of the Grand Rapids District in the West Michigan Conference, where she led a campaign to raise $500,000 plus a $500,000 matching gift to build the 24-room Ubuntu Retreat Center at Africa University in Zimbabwe. Her previous appointments were as co-senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids for thirteen years, pastor of Aldersgate and Plainfield UMCs in Grand Rapids, pastor of Hart United Methodist Church, associate pastor of Ludington United Methodist Church, and pastor of Ogdensburg United Methodist Church in Traverse City.

Bishop Haller received a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where she spent her junior year studying sacred music at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule in West Berlin, Germany. She also received a Master of Music degree in organ performance from the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music and School of Music, and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. During her years at Yale, Bishop Haller was the director of music at Stratford United Methodist Church in Stratford, Connecticut. She was ordained in the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1982 and transferred her ordination credentials to the West Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church in 1987.

Bishop Haller served eight years on the Board of Ordained Ministry in the West Michigan Conference, including four years as chairperson. Prior to her election as bishop, she had served on the Michigan Area Committee on the Episcopacy.

Bishop Haller was elected as a General Conference delegate from the West Michigan Conference in 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004, and 1996 (alternate), and as a Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, and 1996. She is a trustee at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was also a director of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2000-2008 and chaired the Study of Ministry Commission from 2016-2020. Until her election, Bishop Haller served as a member of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference Committee on the Episcopacy.

Bishop Haller has been a Bible Study teacher at the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference (2015), a preacher at Lakeside Chautauqua in Ohio (2015), preacher at Epworth Heights in Ludington, Michigan (2009, 2004, 1997), and a preacher and lecturer at Bay View Assembly in Petoskey, Michigan (2010, 2002). She was chosen to participate in the Academy of Preaching and was the recipient of a Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2000.

Bishop Haller is a prolific writer whose essays and articles have appeared in the Michigan Christian Advocate, Worship Arts, United Methodist Reporter, Ministry Matters, UM Insight, the United Methodist News Service Daily Digest, MIConnect, and Faith in Action.

Bishop Haller is married to Rev. Gary Haller, retired senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Michigan. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Bishop Haller’s 2015 book, Recess; Rediscovering Play and Purpose, is available through Cass Community Publishing House, (

Bishop Haller published a second book in 2020 called Wandering into Grace; A Journey of Discovery and Hope. It is published by Abingdon Press and is available from Cokesbury. (

14 thoughts on “Bio

  1. Thanks for sharing. Laurie, did you ever meet Dr. Todd Farley? He was assistant minister with 2nd Congregational Church, I believe, but not sure. He is our pastor now. He is also a mime who studied mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris. I hope that Bay View invites him to lecture sometime.

    • Hey, I worked with Todd! Yes, he was interim pastor at Second…great worship leader. He even did cartwheels down the center aisle during one service. Now what pastor can say they did that!

  2. Welcome to First United in Birmingham, Laurie. I have enjoyed your “Cruising” sermons. I do not belong to the church but have been actively involved with Art & Soul for over a year. I hope you join us downtown one day.

    Barbara Van Every

    • Thank you, Barbara. I look forward to hearing more about Art and Soul. Thank you for your involvement in this important ministry.

  3. Kurt Kimble introduced me to your writings. Thank you for that openness and effort. I’d like to read more of them in the future.

  4. Regarding the article about pies, bless all those who have compassion for others and thanks, Laurie, for putting Christ (as in Jesus Christ) back in the term CHRISTian. Last time I looked in the Bible, it said that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but save it. Why do people keep forgetting that?

  5. I used to get your posts and would like to get them again. Thanks. I’m a life long Methodist and attend St. Paul’s in GR.

    • Pat, Thanks for your email. I am sorry that you are no longer receiving my blog. Please go to On the right hand side you will see the word “Subscribe” and a space to put in your email. Just click subscribe and you should get on the email list. Blessings to you.

  6. Hi Laurie,
    Just read your article in Leading Ideas, about “stupid things” we do. I liked it of course; but, just one question. Did you ever find the Honda keys? ?

  7. Hi Laurie,
    I enjoyed your blog on VBS. I am from a small rural United Methodist Church in OH (a very small dot on the Ohio map) I was wondering if you would consider sending me an email. We are a very small village, and the Church and Fire hall are the center of the community. We are struggling with the safe sanctuary policy of the Church and how it applies to small churches. I noticed you mentioned you used youth helpers, which is what we always did, too. Once the kids reach 6th grade, they still wanted to come, so we incorporated a teen class, to do service projects or they help the teachers with the little ones. Our attendance to VBS is from 60-75 kids. So, it is a big community outreach, and we need our youth helpers and outside parent helpers. The required background check and youth under 18 not allowed to be alone with the children (like walking them back and forth to the bathroom – you know once one goes they all have to go ).

    I am sorry to bother you with this problem, but I thought maybe you knew if for cases like VBS the rules are relaxed. I sure hate to see this opportunity to serve the community go away.

    I just stumbled on your blog, from the West Ohio Conference email, and enjoyed it . It so clearly spelled out what VBS can do for a community.

    If I could email, I could send you any more information you might need, and that I did not want to post. Thanks in advance, for your help.


  8. Bishop, you very likely know Lawrence McCleskey. When he was with us in. South Carolina he joined in opposing the so-called “Education Lottery”. It passed, but he fought the good fight. South Carolina has a higher proportion of low-income pwesons of color than any stste but Mississippi, and a lottery depends on the ones who can least afford it.

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